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Strongest Possibility Yet for Life on Jupiter’s Moon Europa

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 Ukshep    24,192

It’s a term that’s used too frequently and too lightly, but in this case it seems more than appropriate: “This could change everything.” ‘This’ is the discovery of tectonic plate movement on Jupiter’s moon, Europa. Those plates rubbing together under the moon’s frozen surface could move nutrients from the ice to the ocean believed to be beneath it, providing food to any life forms floating around down there. If life can exist deep underneath Antarctica, why not on Europa?

How do you get from plates moving to life existing? Good question. It starts at Brown University in Rhode Island where Brandon Johnson, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, was trying to figure out how tectonic plates could move without heat. That’s the key ingredient here on Earth where the cold dense plates slide underneath each other into the underlying hot mantle in a process known as subduction. Subduction zones on Earth have high rates of earthquakes and volcanoes that are both products and propagators of the process. The energy created and released may have caused the chemical reactions that sparked life as well as the movements that stirred the waters and fed it nutrients.


Interesting piece of non-doom. It's nice to talk about life! It does not happen enough!

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 Zireael    313

Let's say that I was part of a scientific project where we send a rover to a far, far away planet, and that upon landing, we only witness a barren, desolate world devoid any traces of life. That couldn't be more untrue. Because under its surface, and deep within, this planet would be teeming with trillions upon trillions of different life forms. And if that barren, desolate planet would not be present here in our dimension, then all those life forms it is host to could not exist too!

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 RhetoricalRebel    2,111

The discovery of extremophiles in recent decades  around submarine volcanic activity, I believe is the basis for this theory.

The mid Atlantic ridge (a tectonic boundary), with it's black smokers , is teaming with anaerobic life.  


Hydrothermal vent - wikipedia

A hydrothermal vent is a fissure in a planet's surface from which geothermally heated water issues. Hydrothermal vents are commonly found near volcanically active places, areas where tectonic plates are moving apart at spreading centers, ocean basins, and hotspots. Hydrothermal vents exist because the earth is both geologically active and has large amounts of water on its surface and within its crust. Common land types include hot springs, fumaroles and geysers. Under the sea, hydrothermal vents may form features called black smokers. Relative to the majority of the deep sea, the areas around submarine hydrothermal vents are biologically more productive, often hosting complex communities fueled by the chemicals dissolved in the vent fluids. Chemosynthetic bacteria and archaea form the base of the food chain, supporting diverse organisms, including giant tube worms, clams, limpets and shrimp. Active hydrothermal vents are believed to exist on Jupiter's moon Europa, and Saturn's moon Enceladus, and it is speculated that ancient hydrothermal vents once existed on Mars.


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